Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (11):747-753 (2017)

Authors
Michael Nair-Collins
Florida State University
Abstract
The established view regarding ‘brain death’ in medicine and medical ethics is that patients determined to be dead by neurological criteria are dead in terms of a biological conception of death, not a philosophical conception of personhood, a social construction or a legal fiction. Although such individuals show apparent signs of being alive, in reality they are dead, though this reality is masked by the intervention of medical technology. In this article, we argue that an appeal to the distinction between appearance and reality fails in defending the view that the ‘brain dead’ are dead. Specifically, this view relies on an inaccurate and overly simplistic account of the role of medical technology in the physiology of a ‘brain dead’ patient. We conclude by offering an explanation of why the conventional view on ‘brain death’, though mistaken, continues to be endorsed in light of its connection to organ transplantation and the dead donor rule.
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2016-103867
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References found in this work BETA

The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life.Frances Kamm - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):273-280.
Brain Death and Personal Identity.Michael B. Green & Daniel Wikler - 1980 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 9 (2):105-133.
The Whole-Brain Concept of Death Remains Optimum Public Policy.James L. Bernat - 2006 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 34 (1):35-43.
Brain Death and Personal Identity.Michael B. Green & Daniel Wikler - 2009 - In John P. Lizza (ed.), Philosophy and Public Affairs. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 105 - 133.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Demise of Brain Death.Lukas J. Meier - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:000-000.

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